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do her reverence:"-The people, whom we at first despised as rebels, but whom we now acknowledge as enemies, are abetted against us, supplied with every military store, have their interest consulted, and their ambassadors entertained by our inveterate enemy-and ministers do not, and dare not, interpose with dignity or effect. The desperate state of our army abroad is in part known. No man more highly esteems and honours the British troops than I do; I know their virtues and their valour; I know they can achieve anything but impossibilities; and I know that the conquest of British America is an impossibility. You cannot, my Lords, you cannot conquer America. What is your present situation there? We do not know the worst; but we know that in three campaigns we have done nothing, and suffered much. You may swell every expense, accumulate every assistance, and extend your traffic to the shambles of every German despot: your attempts will be for ever vain and impotent—doubly so, indeed, from this mercenary aid on which you rely; for it irritates, to an incurable resentment, the minds of your adversaries, to overrun them with the mercenary sons of rapine and plunder, devoting them and their possessions to the rapacity of hireling cruelty. If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms; Never, never, never !
But, my Lords, who is the man, that, in addition to the disgraces
and mischiefs of the has dared to authorize and associate to our arms the tomahawk and scalping-knife of the savage ?—to call into civilized alliance the wild and inhuman inhabitant of the woods ?-to delegate to the merciless Indian the defence of disputed rights, and to wage the horrors of his barbarous war against our brethren? My Lords, these enormities cry aloud for redress and punishment. But, my Lords, this barbarous measure has been defended, not only on the principles of policy and necessity, but also on those of morality; “ for it is perfectly allowable," says Lord Suffolk, “to use all the means which God and nature have put into our hands." I am astonished, I am shocked, to hear such principles confessed ; to hear them avowed in this House, or in this country. My Lords, I did not intend to encroach so much on your attention, but I cannot repress my indignation—I feel myself impelled to speak. My Lords, we are called upon as members of this House, as men, as Christians, to protest against such horrible barbarity !—“That God and nature have put into our hands !" What ideas of God and nature that noble Lord may entertain I know not; but I know, that such detestable principles are equally abhorrent to religion and humanity. What! to attribute the sacred sanction of God and nature to the massacres of the Indian scalping-knife! to the cannibal savage, torturing, murdering, devouring, drinking the blood of his mangled victims! Such notions shock every precept of morality, every feeling of humanity, every sentiment of honour. These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation.
I call upon that Right Reverend, and this most Learned Bench, to vindicate the religion of their God, to support the justice of their country. I call upon the Bishops, to interpose the unsullied sanctity of their lawn;—upon the judges, to interpose the purity of their ermine, to save us from this pollution. I call upon the honour of your Lordships, to reverence the dignity of your ancestors, and to maintain your own. I call upon the spirit and humanity of my country, to vindicate the national character. I invoke the Genius of the Constitution. From the tapestry that adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor of this noble Lord frowns with indignation at the disgrace of his country. In vain did he defend the liberty, and establish the religion of Britain, against the tyranny of Rome, if these worse than Popish cruelties, and Inquisitorial practices, are endured among us.
To send forth the merciless cannibal, thirsting for blood! against whom?-your Protestant brethren! —to lay waste their country, to desolate their dwellings, and extirpate their race and name by the aid and instrumentality of these horrible hounds of war! Spain can no longer boast pre-eminence in barbarity. She armed herself with bloodhounds, to extirpate the wretched natives of Mexico; we, more ruthless, loose these dogs of war against our countrymen in America, endeared to us by every tie that can sanctify hu
manity. I solemnly call upon your Lordships, and upon every order of men in the state, to stamp upon this infamous procedure the indelible stigma of the Public Abhorrence. More particularly, I call upon the holy prelates of our religion to do away this iniquity; let them perform a lustration, to purify the country from this deep and deadly sin. My Lords, I am old and weak, and at present unable to say more; but
feelings and indignation were too strong to have said less. I could not have slept this night in my bed, nor even reposed my head upon my pillow, without giving vent to my eternal abhorrence of such enormous and preposterous principles.
9.-EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH OF MR CANNING ON
OTHER nations, excited by the example of the liberty which this country has long possessed, have attempted to copy our constitution; and some of them have shot beyond it in the fierceness of their pursuit. I grudge not to other nations that share of liberty which they may acquire; in the name of Heaven let them enjoy it. But let us warn them that they lose not the object of their desire by the very eagerness with which they attempt to grasp it. Inheritors and conservators of rational freedom, let us, while others are seeking it in restlessness and trouble, be a steady and a shining light to guide their course, not a wandering meteor to bewilder and mislead them.
Let it not be thought that this is an unfriendly or disheartening counsel to those who are either struggling under the pressure of harsh government, or exulting in the novelty of sudden emancipation. It is addressed much rather to those who, though cradled and educated amidst the sober blessings of the British constitution, pant for other schemes of liberty than those which that constitution sanctions other than are compatible with a just equality of civil rights, or with the necessary restraints of social obligation; of some of whom it may be said, in the language which Dryden puts into the mouth of one of the most extravagant of his heroes, that
“They would be free as nature first made man,
Noble and swelling sentiments! but such as cannot be reduced into practice. Grand ideas! but which must be qualified and adjusted by a compromise between the aspirings of individuals and a due concern for the general tranquillity, must be subdued and chastened by reason and experience, before they can be directed to any useful end. A search after abstract perfection in government may produce, in generous minds, an enterprise and enthusiasm to be recorded by the historian and to be celebrated by the poet, but such perfection is not an object of reasonable pursuit, because it is not an object of possible attainment; and never yet did a passionate struggle after an absolutely unattainable object fail to be productive of misery to an individual, of madness and confusion to a people. As the inhabitants of those burning climates, which lie beneath a tropical sun, sigh for the coolness of the mountain and the grove; so (all history instructs us) do nations which have basked for a time in the torrent blaze of an unmitigated liberty, too often call upon the shades of despotism, even of military despotism, to cover them
“O quis me gelidis in vallibus Hæmi
Sistat et urgenti ramorum protegat umbrâ”a protection which blights while it shelters; which dwarfs the intellect, and stunts the energies of man, but to which a wearied nation willingly resorts from intolerable heats, petual danger of convulsion.
Our lot is happily cast in the temperate zone of freedom : the climate best suited to the development of the moral qualities of the human race; to the cultivation of their faculties, and to the security as well as the improvement of their virtues -a clime not exempt indeed from the variations of the elements, but variations which purify while they agitate the
and from peratmosphere that we breathe. Let us be sensible of the advantages which it is our happiness to enjoy. Let us guard with pious gratitude the flame of genuine liberty, that fire from heaven, of which our constitution is the holy depository; but let us not, for the chance of rendering it more intense and more radiant, impair its purity, or hazard its extinction.
10.PERORATION OF MR GRATTAN'S SPEECH ON THE OPENING
OF THE IRISH PARLIAMENT, 1790.
SIR,—The evils which have taken place lead me to consider the resistance to the bills that would have prevented thema pension bill and a place bill. The former was resisted the last session, because, as they on the part of government said, it was unnecessary; at that time they made it indispensable, held it up in traffic, had it at market, a resort against popular and constitutional measures, the prince, the nobles, and the people.
They resisted the place bill under similar circumstances. At the time of their resistance they were dividing boards, splitting sinecures, and multiplying offices; at one and the same time resisting the bill by their influence, and making it necessary by their transgressions. It was not an error in judgment, nor a knotty doubt on a puzzled point of speculation: no; it was a perfect conviction on the part of the ministers of the utility of such a measure, and a decided determination to commit the corruptions those bills would guard against; they were resisted by his Majesty's minister with malice prepense against the community. My friend, who failed, urged these bills with the arguments of a provident senator; but the minister is a thunderbolt in their favour. He is that public malefactor, who calls out for penal laws by the authority of the crimes in which he participates : “ The evils against which you hesitate to provide, I am committing. I am creating places and multiplying pensions; and I am so doing for the reasons you doubt, corruption !” These are not his words; no; but they are the words of his offences.